Graduate Student Handbook: Financial Assistance

Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid in the form of fellowships and loans is available to qualified students.   Long and short-term student loans are handled through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.  Interested students should contact that office directly.
  • Many national graduate fellowships consider applicants who are “at or near” the beginning of their graduate programs.  ECE encourages qualified graduate students to apply for national graduate fellowships in their studies. Information about fellowships and links to important fellowship information can be found at http://fellowships.gatech.edu/.
  • Students who have been awarded the President's Fellowship or other Georgia Tech supplemental fellowships are also strongly encouraged to apply for national fellowships early in their tenure at Tech.  
  • ECE permits faculty members whose students obtain fellowships to withdraw or reduce the GRA appointments in order to be able to fund additional students in their research groups.  
  • ECE has imposed a maximum yearly stipend from fellowships plus GA/GTA/GRA to be $45,000.  A student may receive external fellowships beyond that amount, subject to conditions on those fellowships, but GA/GTA/GRA supplements beyond $45,000 are not allowed.
 
Graduate Co-Operative Program
  • The Graduate Co-Operative Program provides both masters and doctoral students with opportunities to include specialized work experiences in their studies. This program is managed through the Georgia Tech Center for Career Discovery and Development. Information on the co-op program can be obtained through the Georgia Tech Center for Career Discovery and Development website.
  • Students who apply for assignments through the Graduate Cooperative Program must advise the ECE Graduate Affairs Office of their intentions before participation can be approved. Co-op students need to be registered the semester of the co-op for 12 hours.
    • A co-op approval request form is available on the ECE website in the Student Employment and Financial Assistance area of the website.
    • This paperwork should be signed by the research advisor (where applicable) indicating that the plans outlined are approved before the forms are submitted to the ECE Graduate Office for approval.
    • An offer letter from the co-op company should be provided along with the co-op approval form. The letter must include the full time/part time nature of the job, as well as the starting and ending date of the internship.
  • Timing of Co-Op: ECE does not encourage our students to co-op during fall and spring semesters as a significant number of courses are offered in these two terms and most faculty are on campus. ECE graduate students seeking outside work assignments should plan to be gone during summer term and be in school during fall and spring.
    • Students may be permitted to spend one regular fall/spring semester as an intern/co-op in an industrial or government position per degree (that is, once while seeking the M.S. degree and once while seeking the Ph.D. degree).  
    • Students desiring more than one semester (fall, spring) of internship/co-op or other employment must have the expressed permission of the ECE Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs.
  • Students supported as GRAs are expected to coordinate internships/co-ops with their advisor.
  • Subject to the approval of the research advisor, Ph.D. students are permitted an unlimited number of summer terms of non-residence, during which they may be employed as interns/co-ops at industrial or government employers.  
  • International students who have completed less than two semesters of full-time graduate level study in ECE's graduate program will not be given approval to participate in the graduate co-op program.
  • Approval to work off campus will also not be granted to any student who is not in good academic standing or is not making good progress toward the completion of their degree program.

 

Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships

Some students are offered assistantships as part of their admissions package. Others arrange assistantships through direct contact with faculty working in an area of shared research interest. Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) positions come with a tuition waiver, with the requirement that the students are registered full time.  

  • Common Rules for GRAs and GTAs:
    • To be eligible for the tuition waiver, GRA/GTAs must be employed at a minimum rate of one-third time (13-15 hours per week) and must be enrolled full time (at least 12 hours of credit, no more than 3 of which are audit). Students who fail to meet one of these criteria are assessed full tuition and fees based on their residency status.  
      • As a courtesy to students, the ECE Graduate Affairs Office monitors the registration status of students with GRA/GTAs. Email messages are sent to individuals who are not registered properly or have underpaid their tuition and fees. Do not ignore an “improper registration” message. Failure to comply with Institute requirements may result in a loss of the fee waiver, cancellation of classes, or loss of employment.
    • No student can be employed as a GTA/GRA for more than 50% time (20 hours per week).
    • ECE requires that all students who hold GRAs carry a total load of 21 hours in fall and spring semesters, 16 hours in summer term.  
    • GRA/GTAs must be hired no later than the end of the final registration period for the term.  
    • It is the responsibility of the hiring faculty member to supervise the assistantship efforts of the students in their employ each term.  
    • It is the responsibility of the student to insure that all criteria necessary for fee reduction eligibility are met and that the assistantship supervisor’s employment requirements are fulfilled.
    • More specific details regarding employment as a GRA/GTA are available in the ECE Graduate Assistant Handbook located on the ECE website.
    • ECE graduate students are permitted to seek GRA/GTA appointments outside of ECE. The hiring department must report the appointment to the ECE Accounting Office so that the assistantship tuition waiver can be recorded.
  • Those wishing to be considered for Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering may indicate their interest by filing the Position Request form on the secure website.
    • The priority for GTA hires is the following: 1) students to whom GT has a commitment (such as fulfilling an admission offer obligation), 2) students who have a unique qualification to TA a specific course, 3) Ph.D. students who have temporarily lost funding and are otherwise making good progress towards their degree, 4) students who are well-qualified and making good progress towards their degree.
      • Ph.D. students who wish to be hired under category 3) above must have their advisor request the position by contacting the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. That request should contain the following information: why the student needs funding, how long the support is expected to be needed, and the last time that such a request was made from that advisor (for any of their students). Priority for these cases will be to students who are making good progress towards their degree and whose advisors have not received recent GTA funding for any of their students.
      • An exception to the priorities above is for instructors of ECE 3710, the course for non-majors. Only students who have an M.S. degree or who have completed 30 hours towards their degree are allowed to teach this course. We strongly encourage any student who is interested in an academic career to consider teaching ECE 3710. We typically guarantee at least two terms of support for these instructors.  These instructors are also required to take a teaching practicum class.
    • All GTAs must register for ECE 8997 each semester in which they are a GTA.
    • All GTAs must take CETL 8000, a one credit hour pass/fail class, during their first term as GTA, even if they are continuing students.  
  • Students who wish to be considered for Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) should make direct contact with faculty members researching in their interest area to discuss the possibility of being hired.
    • Faculty members wishing to employ a student as a GRA initiate the process by filing a hire request through a secure ECE website, providing an account number for stipend funds as well as information as to the start term and length of employment.  
    • Once available funds have been certified by an ECE accountant, the student will receive an offer letter that includes additional information on ECE and Institute policies and paperwork for accepting the assistantship.  
    • Hiring paperwork will not be initiated without completed forms.
    • No assistantship offer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering is valid without an offer letter from the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs.
    • All GRAs must register for ECE 8998 each semester in which they are a GRA.

 

Hourly (or Graduate Assistant) Positions
  • Students may be hired as a Graduate Assistant (GA) and paid on an hourly basis.  However, Georgia Institute of Technology applies significant restrictions to the hiring of graduate students as GAs.
    • Hourly appointments must be approved by the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs before the student is hired since ECE must be able to justify the hourly appointment to the College of Engineering and to the GT Graduate Studies Office.
    • Hourly (GA) hires are appropriate only in the following circumstances:
      • Students are not eligible to be hired as a GRA or GTA since they are employed for less than 12 hours per week, will be away from campus for a significant portion of the semester and are not registered as full time.
      • Students whose position does not entail research or education may be hired as a GA.
      • Students whose fellowship pays for tuition are hired as a GA rather than a GTA or GRA.
      • Students who are employed must be registered and will pay tuition and fees based on their residency status for the course hours in which they are registered.

 

Tuition Waivers
  • Georgia Tech provides a limited number of out-of-state tuition waivers to exceptional graduate students. These waivers permit full-time students to pay Georgia resident fees instead of out-of-state fees.
  • Most of these waivers are used to fulfill agreements made with external funding agencies such as The Fulbright Commission.
  • Students wishing to be considered for a tuition waiver nomination must contact an academic graduate advisor before submitting the tuition waiver requests.
  • Military personnel and international students who are becoming permanent residents of the US should contact the Registrar’s Office for tuition waivers specific to their statuses.

 

Direct Deposit

 

  • Georgia Institute of Technology requires that all employees (including student employees) arrange to have their salary/stipend payment directly deposited with the financial institution of their choice.
  • Arrangement for direct deposit of the GRA or GTA stipend can be made at the time one completes the GT hiring paperwork with the Office of Student Employment
  • Non-employments related payments such as tuition refunds, fellowship payments, etc. are made to students through the Bursar’s Office.
  • The Bursar’s Office also offers a direct deposit option to students who may receive tuition refunds, fellowship payments, etc. through their office.
  • Information on arranging direct deposit of funds handled through the Bursar’s Office can be found on the Bursar's Office website.

 

Last revised November 4, 2016